The old saying goes, “Sales cures all,” and that may be right, but how exactly does a savvy businessperson intending to grow a franchise go about boosting their sales numbers?
My inbox and social feeds are filled with “helpful” pitches by marketing professionals — digital marketing, PR companies, lead generators, funnels, text marketing… the list seems endless. It’s vital, in considering all these come-ons, that you not confuse efforts and results.
Think, for example, about how improvements in operations can compound sales growth. I call it the “10/10/10 Method:” By focusing on increasing daily customers, check size and visit frequency by 10% in each category, you’ll juice yearly sales in a disproportionality large way.
Take Five Guys: Its average franchise location does about $1.2 million in yearly sales — roughly 220 customers a day averaging about $15.00 per check. If you can attract just 22 more people a day, and manage to up-sell one additional item on each check, things change dramatically. I recently sat down with Fransmart‘s CFO and ran the numbers: Yearly sales would go from $1.2 million to $1.59 million — a 32% increase by being just 10% better.
Here are three ways to ensure that your 10/10/10 growth strategy is a success.
1. Nail that trial period
Most of your marketing budget, particularly in the early days, will be spent on getting customers to try your concept, so great operations and loyalty programs will keep guests coming back and spending more. Sweetgreen, for example, has a loyalty program that builds revenue by charging customers for extra perks, and it works. Rest assured: people will pay good money for a quality experience.
Grand openings are, of course, vital. These events are usually held between a month before and a month after you open and should be designed to create a buzz in the market. Break through the noise by being creative; add a twist to your messaging so people won’t want to miss out.
Be exhaustive in your research of the local market and tie your brand’s message and marketing into it. And, whether in tandem with opening events or in a separate effort, consider a discount or giveaway to give folks additional motivation to stop by. Give them a reason to invest, because good value and community support are equally vital.
When that crowd inevitably shows up, capture it in every way you can — whether in photos, video — heck, rent a drone and show just how far the line goes. A giveaway or other tempting draw may be great, but there’s no incentive better than the fear of missing out. If the community sees a massive line, they’ll be through the door soon.
2. Encourage frequency
Repeat customers are the most profitable because you don’t have to re-market to them. If someone enjoyed their first experience, the instinct is to repeat it, in the process hopefully trying other products. There’s no marketing or incentive needed to bring these people back through the door: Your brand is the draw.
Remember that marketing is an investment in repeat customers: it’s not a cost. Consider a customer who uses you two times a month and spends $10 each time: That person isn’t just the $10 they spend at that moment, but $240 a year and $2,400 over ten years. And that’s not even factoring in the word-of-mouth business they provide by bringing in friends.
Another major component of encouraging repeat business is making sure customers can enjoy your brand in whatever way they want, which means having a quality delivery program. You may cringe at the cost of developing your own, and/or partnering with third-party apps, but remember: This isn’t just about building incremental sales but building a relationship with a repeat customer who will pay full price the next time they drive by your business. That’s worth an investment.
Another vital consideration: The quickest killer of repeat business is making guests feel unsafe or uncomfortable. Great marketing might get someone through the door, but if they walk through a cobweb on their way in, it’s over. Ensure that locations are adhering to high standards of presentation, or all the other good work is wasted.
3. Grow check averages
I once asked the founder of a popular burger brand what percentage of customers also ordered its fries and maybe a fountain beverage. “Everyone does,” he replied. “Well, most everyone. I think most do.” We watched the line for the next 10 minutes, and less than one-third of the customers were also ordering fries and a drink. Why? Because there was a line out the door and the cashier was trying to move it along instead of suggesting extras.
Once you have people in the door, you’re failing as a business if you’re not doing everything you can to maximize each sale. This is an art: You don’t want to apply undue pressure, but remember that you’re in business to sell, not just take orders.
To that end, customer service is more than a warm smile. People want a valuable experience, and that means having their needs met. Businesses should be prepared to ask good questions, identify specific needs and offer the right products to meet them. That means making sure the staff is well-trained. Suggestive selling will lead to a better experience if it’s addressing a genuine need.
Many businesses are turning to kiosks now to address the need for such selling. I love Wow Bao, an Asian concept in Chicago that’s nailing the ordering process. In the early days of the company, new customers were clogging the lines by asking a long series of questions when ordering, causing regulars to turn away and avoid the wait. In response, the company installed kiosks, and the check average went up by almost 20%! This has driven revenue growth while lowering labor costs and giving repeat customers a better experience… a truly winning formula.